What better time than summer to get outside the box and push the boundaries for our creativity? The creative process takes critical thinking and problem solving and offers solutions, new perspectives, and paradigm shifts that have the potential to make lasting and meaningful change. For kids, practicing creativity and building those muscles during the summer will benefit them during the school year and their adult lives.


Interestingly, much thought and research tries to pinpoint the creative process, to analyze and replicate it. For example, this book claims to have a science-backed method to maximize creative potential, using eight steps that characterize the creative process.


A popular four-stage model for the creative process was outlined by a British psychologist, and consists of preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. See more information here on this theory and the steps from start to completion.


No matter the directions to follow for creativity – which are probably different for everyone – there are some key ingredients that make creativity possible. Try cultivating these in your kids – and yourself – this summer:




Ask questions! Figure out how things work, after guessing how they work. Make observations about your community, your everyday life, or the tools you use most like computers or spoons. Think about how things could be improved or changed.


Don’t just skim the surface as you experience life this summer. If you go out for sushi as a family, spend the week talking about Japanese culture, watch some anime, research WWII, or drop in on a jujitsu class. Encourage your kids to follow their interests and immerse themselves in new things.




Playing can take many forms: make believe and imagination, competitive team sports, carefree adventuring and exploring. What is fun to your child? What does he look forward to? Where does he naturally thrive?


Try to engage full-body movements while playing. If he prefers video games, set up a neighborhood squirt gun fight. If she prefers to read in her room, help her bring her favorite book to life with a theatrical performance.




Stick with your priorities this summer, when schedules get hectic or kids get bored. Creativity doesn’t always come easy, and that’s when we need to stay with the process. Boredom offers a perfect blank slate for creativity.


If the kids are tired of playing soccer outside, don’t let them come in and watch a show. Instead, let them sit in their boredom long enough to create a new game that will provide hours of more entertainment. Or switch it up and simply give them a box of supplies, like paper, a catcher’s mitt, a tomato from the garden, molding clay, and a baby bonnet. Then tell them they have 45 minutes to create a live-action story that incorporates everything in the box.




Get comfortable with failed attempts. Don’t let your kids fear being awkward, or misunderstood, or too silly. Those things are all a big part of any corporate brainstorming session, and they should be a big part of childhood too!


When the creative process is fun, the end product or idea is like the cherry on top. And nothing is a failure along the way, because it all leads us closer to who we are becoming and what we are creating.


If you’re looking for a school that values critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity, check us out. Self Development Academy is recognized as one of the best K-8 charter schools nationwide. We have several campuses in Arizona: Phoenix, East Mesa, Mesa and Glendale. Find email and phone numbers here. We can’t wait to hear from you!